Scuba is the popular term for for double knit four way stretch polyester fabric.
Scuba and neoprene fabric are often confused, this is understandable as its uses and names are a little mixed!
Neoprene consists of a thick foamy layer sandwiched between two layers of stretch polyester knit fabric, sometimes a four way stretch, and is very popular for water sports including scuba diving. Scuba fabric doesn’t have the foam layer, though its double knit properties has a slightly spongy feel.
Scuba fabric has been and can be used for water sports as the double knit can create a warm layer but neoprene has really taken over that task. Scuba fabric and the thick PU foam can be combined together to make neoprene, this too can add to the slight confusion of separating the fabrics.
Scuba fabric is widely used in the fashion industry, its properties make it the ideal candidate for the ever changing shapes and patterns of fashion clothing.
The structure of the fabric is created by a construction of a very fine double knit.
One layer is knitted in one direction, one in the other. The fabric holds a good amount of stretch along the bias and horizontal points, with a small amount vertically.
This simple method creates a very clever paradox as the fabric is both stretchy yet structurally it holds well. The stretch on the scuba is mainly along the bias and horizontal points, with a small amount on the vertical.
This four way stretch allows the fabric to effortlessly follow curves whist adding a helping hand to hold some at bay! Some average stretch fabrics will stretch all over the place without structure but scuba has a far more calculated approach that results in a fabric that lends itself particularly well to feminine clothing.
The fabric is available in a huge abundance of colours so its easy for scuba to follow the changing colour trends.
Printing patterns and pictures into scuba is easy too, the ultra fine knit allows intricate designs with even the finest graduation of shades to show clearly and smoothly on the fabric, and the structures four way stretch will bounce back with every move so the design will not warp.